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The Polar Pavilion

Travel to the frozen seas !

To the North of each land, an ocean ; to the South of each sea, a continent : the Arctic and the Antarctic. Océanopolis' polar pavilion takes you on a journey to discover these two ecosystems which are both similar and unique. After an amazing film transports you to the Antarctic, you will go on a journey to discover Europe's largest penguin colony along with a real ice-floe inhabited by seals from the frozen north : an unforgettable experience. 

Polar album
polar not to be missed

Don't miss...

  • Feeding the seals.
  • Feeding the penguins.

49° South. Southern Nature

49° South. Southern nature

Exceptional pictures take you on a trip to the southern islands. During summer, hundreds of thousands of marine animals gather on these extreme lands to mate and give birth...Shot using an innovative panorama shooting system, lasting about ten minutes, this spectacular film, is screened on a 160-degree curved screen of 18m x 3.6m. 

 © Pierre.a.Vivet 

The Penguin colony

The Penguin colony

The Penguin colony houses 40 penguins from three different species, all of them born in captivity. This colony, the largest in Europe, accurately represents life on the beautiful landscapes of the Sub-Antarctic islands. King, Gentoo and Rockhopper penguins live together in this astonishing recreated scenery : there is water, of course, but also cliffs and snow. Since May 2000, a number of penguin chicks have been born at the colony. 

The seals on their ice-floe

The seals on their ice-floe

These very large predators dwell in a 1000 m3 tank with a reconstructed ice-field. Ringed and harp seals can be seen swimming around an iceberg or lying on the ice, as they enjoy an endless summer with an outside temperature of 4°C and a water temperature of 8°C. 

Life in the cold seas

Life in the cold seas

Japanese spider crabs, various kinds of starfishes and impressive brightly-coloured anemones all dwell in three tanks. You will also discover strange, slightly monstrous lumpfish and wolffish. 

1000 m² of exhibitions

1000 m² of exhibitions

Around the Penguin colony and the Seal tank, 1000 m2 of exhibitions illustrate the polar ecosystem, the diversity of Antartic species, life on ice-fields, inuits and other small tribes of the Great North. Admire the lifesize models of walrus, elephant seal, bears, albatros and petrel. 

Did you know that... ?

The difference between the Arctic and the Antarctic ?

The Arctic (North Pole) is a frozen ocean surrounded by vaste swathes of earth (Alaska, Greenland, Spitsbergen and Siberia). The Antarctic (South Pole) is a continent covered in ice and surrounded by an ocean.  

Icebergs and ice-floe

Icebergs are made of freshwater and come from icecaps and huge polar glaciers. Ice-floes however, are a layer of ice which forms at the surface of the sea (which freezes below –1.8°C).  

What is the difference between a penguin and a razorbill ?

Razorbills can fly and live in the northern hemisphere whereas penguins are flightless and live in the southern hemisphere. They both feed in the same way: they catch their prey by diving beneath the surface.  

What is the difference between a seal and a sealion ?

On land, sealions walk on all fours whereas seals slide along on their fronts. In the water, sealions propel themselves using their front flippers, whereas seals swim by swaying the rear part of their bodies and pushing with their webbed back feet.  

Océanopolis' mounted polar bear

Océanopolis' polar bear comes from Churchill in Hudson Bay. It had to be put to sleep as it was a danger to the local population. Its skin was conserved and mounted by the taxidermy and conservation department at the Grande Galerie de l'Evolution at Paris' Natural History Museum.